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Fusion Front Spring Failure


fusion66
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This is an old subject but still relevant. My 2004 1.4tdi has broken springs twice, each time with little mileage and 3 years between. Annual mileage never exceeds 4,000.

It seems the most common breakages are offside front and just about half a turn (7 inches) from the end of the first (bottom) coil.

There is a Fiesta thread which mentions probs with vehicles built in the Cologne plant, Germany, in 2003/4. It seems Ford do not admit the problem although it is clearly a safety issue. As far as I know there has never been a recall - Bad job Ford!

I have had 2 Dagenham Fiestas (Mk2 and 3), 2 Sierras and 2 Escorts and put about 100,000 miles on each with no failures.

Look at the Fusion design and it is not conventional (with British Dunton designs) as previous Fiestas have square ended springs which sit properly. It seems the design is Continental as there are reports of VW, Audi. Merc, BMW, Renault and GM failures.

Fusion springs are tapered at each end and sit in a spiral housing in such a way as to encourage wear of the plastic covering, trapping dirt, grit and salt and premature rusting. It seems rust starts as a result of the plastic covering being pierced by friction plus grit or a small stone. Rust in the tiny hole then spreads causing the spring to fail. They always fail in the same place and one discussion thread indicates that broken parts can be interchanged between springs and they fit perfectly. Also, interchangeable with broken nearside springs.

In an attempt to alleviate the fault Ford released a zinc plate modification which prevents rust through electrolytic action (sacrificial anode).

Has anyone got a part No. for this or any further information on spring failures?

Ta muchly

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Further research and examination of another broken spring result in this update.......

Fiestas to Mk III have a different type of spring.. tubular – not tapered at the ends, and the last coil at each end is finished to provide a flat face with the mount in which it sits.
Later Fiestas and Fusions have tapered ended springs (the coil shape continues) which sit in a spiral housing at the bottom. Although the spring is coated with plastic this soon wears away, so does the paint on the strut. Road dirt, chips and stones get underneath (between the underside of the spring and the strut) which quickens the destruction of the paint and plastic coating.
Just a small puncture in these results in rust setting in which then runs up into the coil – a close look at a broken spring reveals all as the rust trace can be seen and followed.
By the very nature of the spring flexing right to the end of the coil the spring is weakened (always almost exactly 7 inches from the end) then snaps. It is quite common when rust reaches a specific distance into the spring for it to snap often while the vehicle is stationary. Usually the driver side front spring breaks first. The majority of reports note this and it has happened to my Fusion twice in 3 years, about 12,000 miles apart.
Previous models do not flex in this way as the end is flat, sitting flat in the mount and does not flex at all.
It is little or nothing to do with roads, salt or potholes.
It seems that Fiestas designed at Dunton (Essex) and built at Dagenham are free from this as they use the earlier design. It also seems to be a Continental problem centred on Germany ( Ford’s Cologne plant). Other German and Continental makes have reports of similar design and failure problems.
It seems obvious that one design is good and failure free whilst the other is a continual source of trouble and possible danger.
This can only equate to the design.
Ford designed it and therefore should admit there is a failure, the outcome of which is a safety issue, and however old the vehicle it should recall and effect a permanent and successful modification/repair free of charge.
There is no other explanation – one design works forever and the other does not.

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Ben, I have been in email contact with Ford and just had a reply

The zinc plate (sacrificial anode) is Finis No. 1481540 and I have just been quoted £4.46 each + VAT + delivery = £14.30 total.

The drawing for this can be found at

http://www.fordpartsuk.com/shop/ford_fiesta__fusion_2002_front_suspension_anti-squeak_pad_f_1211735_c_434.htm

Look at the second small picture at the bottom which appears as '2 jpg' The item is listed as 18180B

There is also an anti squeek pad which I am thinking of fitting also - anything that might aleviate things and give longer spring life! Only 12,000 miles and 3 years is no good!

You have to use the Finis enquiry box then go to 'Live Enquiry' as it is returned without information. I dealt with Wendy Doyle at Ford and she was most helpful.

It seems dealers and repairers are not aware of this mod as my front end was repaired 3 years ago and not modified. So this time it's a DIY job.

I don't think there is any way to predict spring failure other than taking everything apart and looking for rust under the spring and on the surface of the strut where they mate.

Fusions are an OK vehicle - nothing special, just ok. I have had a new front wheel bearing, a rear silencer and done some anti rust work on the rear springs. They are dead easy to work on, only a pair of compressors are needed. oil and filter changes are a piece of cake - no need to get under the vehicle. The diesels can be slow to start when cold but there is a fuel pre heater inside the fuel filter which is also on top of the engine. I replaced the filter which seems to have helped.

Mine is used as a logger to bring back logs from our woodland and just chugs along with a quite heavy load behind the back seat. Mrs K3 likes it because she can see over the hedges .. lol

Does this help?

David G (K3)

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  • 5 weeks later...

Would you adam and eve it, my offside spring has just broken. Should never have posted on this thread! About the bottom 7 inches as predicted, and it has moved upward above the next coil.

What do you think the labour costs are?

Thanks.

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Not sure about labour cost but my 1.4tdci had both springs replaced in Sept 2011 - cost, parts and labour and the dreaded VAT = £229.60. Repairer was a small local rural Devon firm, one man and his son. They only replaced the two front springs.

I have just replaced suspension parts on both sides and cost of parts (2 x springs, 2 x shocks, 2 x top bearings, 2 x dust covers and bumps, 2 x anti squeak mods and 2 x zinc plate mods cost £256.57. The modification parts came direct from Ford. see my previous posts.

I suspect the reason for the driver side spring failure is due to there being a greater load on it than the kerb side spring. Look at the top mount in the engine compartment. On mine there is a reinforcing plate only on the driver side. My opinion is that this side being the heavy end of the engine has a greater loading. The other spring carries the lighter end so is less prone to failure.

It would seem likely that there has been a structural problem which was not foreseen and a strenghthening plate is fitted to stiffen the body.

It would be interesting to see if the spring problem is more common on diesel engined Fusions as apposed to petrol engines whiach are usually lighter than diesels, I think.

One problem is the ingress in dirt and grit under the end of the spring. It flexes and is intermittently in contact with the shock mounting at 7" from the end. Both develop rust so both need to be dealt with as rust on one will only shorten the life of the other. I also packed the end of the spring with a VERY flexible filler similar to frame sealant. Made by UniBond it is available from Screwfix for about £6 a tube. This should keep out dirt and grit also water and salt, so hopefully lengthen the life of the spring.

Maybe another owner can add further light to this subject.

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Ben.

I forgot to mention Ford produce a special tool for dismantling the top end of the spring/shock and bearing. I made one from a 18mm socket which I modified so it can be held in a pair of mole grips while allowing an allen key to go through the hole in the centre and down into the end of the shock. I turned a pin on my lathe then drilled through the side of the socket (almost at the top) and pressed the pin in place.

If it is of interest I'll post a photo with moore information if needed.

David G (K3)

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Just had to do one today for a customer.

The modification plate is a must!

I only use genuine springs though, they are colour coded and there's about 6 different springs depending on engine petrol or diesel, engine size, trim level, Manual or auto gearbox and they are different lengths and have different spring rates etc... Almost impossible to find a pattern spring that replaces like for like. Just a bugger the price is so expensive from ford.

Also had to change boot as spring took that with it, top mount as it was notchy and brake pipe because spring made a nice mess of that also.

Irony is the spring has been changed before, but person never did the ford upgrade and now here we are again with a failed spring.

Forgot the anti squeal pad but not sure it's required with genuine springs because it has a rubber sleeve around the bottom anyway where the pad would normally go.

So can't advise enough the importance of the zinc plate.

Could of done with the specialist tool but can't find anywhere selling it besides ford?

Sent from my iPhone using Ford OC

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Thanks for all the advice. I've had to get the job done quickly at my local independent as I need to get back on the road ASAP for my job, and this is my only car.

So, I have had to forego the zinc plate/genuine ford parts re: cost. I appreciate that they may now go again in 2-3 years, but hope to move this car on by then. Having both sides done.

Unfortunately, I'm getting whole new legs - as they can't get the old springs off, too corroded - so new top mounts too.

All a bit of a mess I'm afraid, not done well here :(

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Isn't it cheaper to cut the top mount to get better grip on the shock and replace the mount than replace the shock and mount?

As above there is a special tool.

The one I did was also too corroded but I managed to get some stilsons on the shock absorber to grip it at the very top just under the mount and a 2 ft long bar on the socket and it came undone with some brute force.

Sent from my iPhone using Ford OC

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My fusion front nearside spring broke with a loud bang last friday (13th!!). It bent the shock and broke the anti roll bar connection!! I'm now flogging this heap as spares/repairs cos this was the last of many faults i had. But i am staying with ford.

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My fusion front nearside spring broke with a loud bang last friday (13th!!). It bent the shock and broke the anti roll bar connection!! I'm now flogging this heap as spares/repairs cos this was the last of many faults i had. But i am staying with ford.

It would take more than a spring breaking to bend a shock shaft. The spring has no control over sideways movement only up and down so I can't see how its possible.

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My fusion front nearside spring broke with a loud bang last friday (13th!!). It bent the shock and broke the anti roll bar connection!! I'm now flogging this heap as spares/repairs cos this was the last of many faults i had. But i am staying with ford.

Feel your pain with that one! Hard lines. I hope I get another couple of years out of my con-Fusion, it owes me now.

A couple of days after mine went saw an AA man round the corner in the same street doing the offside spring on a Mk6 Fiesta. Such a common problem. Very unhappy with the way Ford have approached this issue.

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Dismantling Tool

Further to my previous posts, attached are photographs of the tool I made for dismantling the top end of the suspension unit. Cost is minimal (about £6?) and all parts are obtained easily.

Tool1

Shows the two items required (1 x 19mm socket and 1 x 6mm Allen tool.)

As there is not sufficient tool length to reach deep into the end of the shock turn a bevel on the 6mm allen and turn into the socket to gain extra length. A 30 degree angle on both gives an extra 1/4 inch useable length without reducing the metal too much and weakening the items.

Drill a hole through the side of the socket as near to the top as is practical to ensure good strength when in use.

Next, turn a pin to be a very tight fit in the hole you have just drilled. The pin must be a really tight fit.

Press the pin into the hole - a good solid bench vice is ok for this!

Tool2

Shows how they fit together when in use.

Tool3

Shows how the tool is used with a pair of Mole grips and a Socket Bar.

Use -

The nut and end of the shock sit in a deep cup. The thread of the shock may have rusted and the nut may have corroded, increasing greatly its contact with the cup.

First clean out the cup then the thread of the shock - a small wire brush and lots of freeing oil (WD40?) repeated over a day or two perhaps.

Fit the tools as in Tool3 but instead of turning the nut, turn the socket bar so the shock is effectively screwed down through the nut. This way you are not wasting energy fighting friction between the nut and cup. All the effort is then where it is needed, only between the shock thread and the nut thread.

If the thread is properly derusted, turning the socket handle should get easier and when you run out of tool length the 6mm allen tool can be replaced with an ordinary long 6mm Allen Key.

No Guarantee folks! But it worked for me.

Good luck

K3

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  • 1 month later...

My o-s-f spring snapped after I parked up back in February in exactly the same place, luckily I discovered it before I'd driven too far and any further damage was done, mine is a '58 plate 1.6 tdci with 50k plus on the clock

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Except for the fact that some cars are worse than others, having failures time after time. Some rarely fail. This can only be down to poor design or defective/unsuitable materials or manufacturing techniques.

Many industries have similar problems which are corrected with design changes or modifications in one way or another. I spent 10 years in the photographic industry wrestling with these things and improving equipment performance and reliability. All that is needed is to recognise the problem and have the will to sort them out.

Regards,

fusion66

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